London is on the bucket list for many incentive qualifiers — for good reason. The locals speak English, it’s easy to get to, and there are so many historical tours choose from.
Is London the best place in the world for U.S. incentives? If you ask Ed Holdcroft, Senior Account Manager with London-based destination management company 2B UK, the answer would be a resounding “yes.”
“London dates back to 6,000 B.C., so there are enough history, ancient buildings and landmarks to literally fill your boots. We are not stuck in the dark ages though — the city is constantly evolving with new luxury hotels and experiences opening every day,” says Holdcroft. “Accessibility is great, getting around is easy, and we share a language, so nothing is lost in translation.” And he adds, with 96 Michelin-star-rated restaurants in town, “don’t worry about having a bad meal.”
While the experiences available run the gamut from recording a song at Abbey Road Studios to cruising around in a vintage sports car with a Vintage Mini Cooper Experience, here are four tours rooted in history that are sure to be pleasers for even the most discriminating incentive group.
Tower of London—The famous Tower of London has been many things since William the Conqueror had it build more than 900 years ago, including a Royal Palace, armory, fortress, Royal Mint — and even a zoo — though it’s mainly known for being a prison and place of execution. Groups can have private morning access to the tower to learn the myths, history and stories about the ancient landmark from Yeoman Warders, also known as Beefeaters. They also can take a gander at the Crown Jewels collection housed in the Tower, which include the Imperial State Crown and the Sovereign’s Scepter, which includes the First Star of Africa, the largest cut diamond in the world.
- Westminster Abbey—As is the case with the Tower of London, groups can do private pre-opening tours of the 1,000-year-old Gothic church, which has been a site of daily worship ever since the Benedictine monks arrived in the 10th It also has been the official coronation church since 1066 and was the site of the wedding of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, as well as the state funeral of the late Queen Elizabeth.
- Kensington Palace—Crown to Couture. The latest blockbuster London exhibition running until the end of October is the Crown to Couture. Billed as the “fashion show of the centuries,” the fashion exhibition features more than 200 items, from ball gowns to court suits to handbags and jewelry worn by everyone from Beyonce and Katy Perry to ancient British royals. Located in Kensington Gardens in West London, the Palace’s iconic buildings also have served the Royal family for more than 300 years, though it was a special favorite of Princess Diana and Princess Margaret.
- London Landmarks & Gems Cycling
Tour—Groups can get up close and personal with some of the city’s most iconic, historical and cultural monuments while tooling around on a British-made, vintage-style Pashley Cycle. The tour is led by a professional guide who will get everyone set up with bikes and safety equipment, then take them on a relaxing, gentle tour around some of London’s “green” cycling routes past sights such as Hyde Park Corner, Rotten Row, the Serpentine, Buckingham Palace and Speakers Corner.
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